Birchwood Christian keeps up winning streak in 1A first round
The Birchwood Christian Warriors ran their winning streak to eight straight with a 60-30 win against James C. Isabelle High in the first round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 1A Basketball State Championships.
Led by seven seniors and making its first state appearance in five years, Birchwood Christian (20-3) is building on its perfect 14-0 conference season and its Peninsula Conference Tournament title.
Up next is Kipnuk today at 5 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center on the UAA Campus.
Since starting the season 0-2, the Warriors are winners of 20 of 21 but got off to a slow start and led just 7-6 after the first quarter before outscoring the team from Teller 53-24 over the next three.
“You’re talking about some nerves, that was crazy,” said Birchwood Christian Coach Micah Ellington. “Big, big change to even region tournaments, just the atmosphere, the big arena … a total blessing to see and to be part of.”
Michael Balos paced Birchwood Christian with 18 points and was joined in double figures by teammates Peter Swanberg and Seth Alexander with 12 each. Tanner Reich chipped in 9 for the Warriors.
Ellington feels his team matches up well with Kipnuk, who defeated Tanana in its opening round game Wednesday morning.
“We just have to come out and play a good game, and we should be all right,” Ellington said.
The full 1A bracket can be found at the ASAA March Madness website.